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Monday, May 30, 2016

The Curator of Deserted Dreams

I stumbled on him while looking for something else in a desolate corner of the library annex, sitting on a stool at a high table hunched over a computer in a tiny office with “Desertosque Somnia” mounted a bit askew in a plastic holder on the wall next to his door.

Though I cleared my throat to get his attention, he was glued to his screen in his one-desk office. Excuse me . . . What does Desertosque Somnia mean? I inserted the Latin with a novice tongue.

Startled, he looked up at me with suspicion, then replied in a distinctly British accent, Deserted dreams, Sir, this is the Office of Deserted Dreams. How did you get in here?

Deserted dreams, I repeated rather dumbfounded. I am looking for Special Collections and must have taken a wrong turn. Curiosity won out over the dismissal in his voice. What do you do in here?

A bit of everything I’m afraid. Catalog and look after the collection; he gestured toward his screen. Upcycle if it seems proper to make holdings more appealing. His eyes looked upward as if he were reading a distant star . . . Research, route good matches for re-distribution . . . he stopped . . . But sir I owe you no explanation, he remembered, regretting the candor just choked from his veined throat.

Dreams? Deserted dreams? Whose deserted dreams? I couldn't help myself.

Yours, I’m afraid, Sir, if you don’t pursue them. Now if you’ll excuse me. 

I’m sorry but I had no idea there was such a thing, and I’m still trying to understand. Are you telling me you collect dreams people leave behind? When they die?


And you broker them? I continued, intrigued. Where do you get them?

Get what? he asked impatiently.

The dreams!

They arrive in my inbox.

Who do they come from?

I’m afraid that is confidential information.

And where do they go?

It depends really, some stay here, some go back out.

To whom?

I cannot tell you that Sir. Please leave.

But who do you work for?

I cannot tell you that Sir. Please leave. His face inflated with righteousness.

What CAN you tell me?

Nothing! I’ve already said too much. I urge you to go back the way you came and leave me to my work. That way I won’t have to call security. He reached but stopped short of picking up his phone.

Security? I’m hardly a security risk. But m
y voice sounded defensive even to me.

The man behind the desk picked up the phone and put it to his ear.

No need for that. I backed out the door, then turned around trying to locate myself in the building. All I could see in the distance was an elevator sign. I took a few steps before turning back around to take one last look at the office. I pulled out my phone to get a picture of the door, knowing no one would believe my unbelievable story.

I wasn't surprised to find it was gone. No door. No sign. No trace.

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